My photography is becoming -me-

Personal Pictures

Just a quick post this early morning, but one I feel like I need to share.

I had an interesting discussion yesterday, with a mom of a class mate of my youngest son.

She saw a huge panorama print hanging on the wall in our living room, and was overwhelmed with the beauty of it (says the humble me 😉 )

We were discussing about my work, and I told her I have my work currently exposed in a beautiful interior and furniture warehouse (

I was talking also about the upcoming exhibition, and about the fact that the new exhibition will feature only beauty portraits, not landscapes.

In the discussion, while talking about the different subjects I have tackled so far, it became suddenly clear to me that although the subjects can be totally different, the images are always an expression of the same -me- .

Be it a landscape, a still life, a beauty portrait or something else, I think I’m starting to get a common denominator in my photography and that is – the way I see things – . I am touched by the beauty of a misty forest, a wandering gaze in the eyes of a model, or a fascinating detail in the urban environment we are living in. I am by far not a landscape photographer pur sang, I am not a fashion photographer by far, or an architectural photographer, but I start to express myself in a personal way.

I have wondered for a while now which subject appeals to me the most, well I still can’t decide on that, but it won’t matter as much anymore. I’ll probably keep photographing different subjects all the way, and find beauty in all of them. One of my great inspirations is Jean-Loup Sieff, probably because of his wide portfolio of subjects, and hey! they quite match my preferences.










struggle for a portrait

people, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

I’m at number 15, people who have come at my studio to pose for the professions project. All people I have photographed are un-easy with posing, and it has been a challenge to make them feel comfortable enough to get a good portrait and a nice depiction of their professional occupation.
Last I had a directors assistant and I would like to show you a bit of the shoot in evolution. I always ask people to bring something related to their job, and to be creative in what they bring (otherwise everybody brings a computer nowadays). She had brought a small calculator and a cellphone, because she does a lot of pricing calculations and she is on the phone half of her working time.

First of all I do a shot to verify my light setup, a quick close portrait will do to check on the detail in the highlights and the shadows.

First we tried with the calculator and a portable home phone I have here at hand. Phone in left hand, phone in right hand, didn’t work out to my feeling.

Ok then, let’s try only the calculator, maybe we’re going to get somewhere, … duhhhh, nope, nothing ‘directors assistant’ alike.

Maybe when we use only the phone, the pose will be less ‘forced’ and more natural, try putting a hand on your hip, nice, but not so ‘verymuchbusywithalotofthingsatthesametime’. This looks more like a well dressed woman calling her friend.

Now what do you really do in your job, I asked Ellen, …
Well, I’m often occupied with a lot of papers, trying to fix a date for an appointment in my bosses agenda, whilst running from here to there, …
Oh, okay, let’s find you some papers, an agenda, a pen, and hold that calculator and phone while I go find what we need.
I gave her some invoices strolling on my desk (she gave them back after the shoot 🙁 an agenda, a pen, …) and I quickly grabbed my camera.
While she was struggling to get all those things comfortably in her hands, I took a shot, MY SHOT! We did some less panic’y shots for her too, but I had my shot! The directors assistant, getting thrown ten things at the same time to her head, and trying to deal with all of them.

I have no proper background system yet, so I need to do some retouching on the background, painting some areas black, next I do some local adjustments for some extra exposure to the hands, the shadow side of the face, the shadow side of the dress, I add some more exposure to the orange tones and that’s it for my final image.

After that, I took a picture of Ellen and her husband Bart, as a bonus, because I made her work so hard. Thank you Ellen, thank you Bart!

more professions – light setup

people, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, photo gear, Tips and Tricks

And my project on profession portraits goes on.
I have quite some people spontaneously offering to pose for my series of professions. A classical portrait with a – small/not so small – glimpse of the job they do.
Below, you’ll see the library assistant, the plumber, the health coach and the actuaris. For you to find out who’s who, can’t be too hard I guess. – click on the images to view larger if you have difficulties finding out –

for my fellow photography enthusiasts, I’ll include a more detailed light setup, which is actually very simple:

1. I have a black cloth hanging up in the back of the room 3 to 4 meter behind my subject.
2. I have a reportage flash (Canon 580 EXII) in a 70×70 cm softbox from Lastolite on the right of my subject, which is my only light source. It is set at 1/4 +0.7 power and very close to the subject (maybe half a meter). I put it so close because this allows me to lit only my subject, and have the background almost black, thus reducing the post-processing. it is at the subjects head hight, slightly aiming down.
3. I have my large Lastolite tri-grip on the left side, on the ground + my diy reflector on a small stand, I had to use this extra reflector, because otherwise I don’t get enough light on the shadowside, and I recon my own reflector is just a bit more reflective than the trigrip, which is larger but softer.
4. I’m at about 3,5 meters distance from my subject, at about hip-height, to make my subject seem larger and fiercer, more ‘standing out’ I use my 85 mm 1.8 lens, at f8 on a full frame camera, to get a decent sharpness overall.
5. I have different subjects 🙂 They are all uncomfortable with posing, believe me! I ask them to turn their body slightly towards the main light, looking at me. Then we do about 15-25 shots, until I think we have a good shot, representing both the personality and a good pose.

The images are taken in colour, as raw files, and treated in LR afterwards. I use the standard BW settings, but have some minor local corrections with adding or removing exposure. I then remove the unwanted parts in the image (my background is not large enough for this distance, so I need to remove some ceiling that is not black, sometimes I need to move a small part of the reflector on the left.

I hope you like the pictures, if you are willing to pose for me, please give me a sign trough email or by reacting to this post. In return, you’ll get the chosen image in high resolution, free for personal use.
If you have any questions about the setup, ask it.

project professions

people, Personal Pictures

I started a project about professions. It initially started as a small project, but it seems to get bigger than I expected. Basically I make portraits of people I know more or less, with a slight or clear hint to their profession. I want the viewer to first see a portrait, then what his profession is about. I invite volunteers to pose for me, think about what they could bring as a ‘job link’ and try to make a good shot. I do not want them to bring uniforms or special clothing, and the object must be small.
This is what I mean:

I deliberately choose the same setup for all the images, to enhance the ‘series’ effect. Setup is one 70 cm softbox on the right of the model just outside the image frame, my diy reflector on the left of the model also just next to the person posing. All images with 85 mm 1.8 @ f8.